diamond geezer

 Wednesday, April 14, 2004

golden gate geezer (day 7)

Across the bay (1) Berkeley: Berkeley (pronounced as in jerk, not woof) is home to the University of California. I took the BART train underneath the bay, a silvery rail service from the 70s that still looks highly futuristic today (apart from the blue cloth seat coverings). There is a Berkeley Square in the town, but the noise I thought could have been nightingales turned out to be the song of a bleeping pedestrian crossing. I took a stroll across the university campus, a compact woodland grove of academia. Today saw the start of voting in the annual student elections, so the leafy pathways were packed with campaigning fervour. One candidate for the Senate walked around holding a huge placard advertising his blog (here), while another thrust a leaflet into my hand urging me to vote Misha for President (I'm actually 39, my dear, but bless you for not noticing).
Across the bay (2) Golden Gate Bridge: You can drive across, you can bike across, but I chose to walk across. The bridge isn't gold in colour, it's actually painted 'international orange', but the stretch of water it crosses is called the Golden Gate. Sir Francis Drake (and various Spanish explorers before him) completely failed to spot the bay entrance through thick fogbanks more than 400 years ago. No fog today, so there was a perfect view of the bridge, the bay and San Francisco's skyscraper spires in the distance. It's two miles from one side to the other, so the full span can be walked briskly in half an hour flat, just so long as you can keep out of the way of the bikes and the oncoming tourists. If you're feeling suicidal there are telephones spaced across the bridge offering crisis counselling, although today you could have stopped a passing nun and asked her for salvation instead. On reaching the northern side I was disappointed to discover nothing more than a car park, but there was still the joy of the return walk across one of the modern wonders of the world. A golden wonder indeed.
Fog index: Inbound cumulus and sunny intervals.
Seismic activity: It's over-rated.
Oversize portions: I visited Ghiradelli Square, very briefly, having been warned the place was a tourist trap. It was, but the Ghiradelli cafe did sell hot white chocolate. It's gorgeous. I want to go back and drink a gallon more.
Number of photos taken: 72 (mostly bridge shots)


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